Shaw: Dean Bresciani's classy departure as NDSU President

"Despite having to run a university hit with massive budget cuts and the loss of dozens of faculty members, NDSU achieved an impressive record under Bresciani's watch," writes InForum columnist Jim Shaw.

NDSU president-elect David Cook, right, speaks to the NDSU Foundation governing board after being introduced by NDSU president Dean Bresciani on Friday, March 11, 2022, at Klefstad conference room inside the Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center, in Fargo.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani has shown the state what class is all about. After Bresciani was in essence fired as NDSU President following 11 years on the job, he has taught us all what it means to be professional and graceful in his last year on a job where he is no longer wanted.

Bresciani’s firing, never fully explained, was unjustified. Yes, there were some significant bumps on the road, such as his selection of the school’s provost and an unfair new media policy, since scrapped.

Despite having to run a university hit with massive budget cuts and the loss of dozens of faculty members, NDSU achieved an impressive record under Bresciani's watch. Graduation rates are way up, much needed buildings and facilities have been constructed, a diversity council was created, the school is celebrating Indigenous people, NDSU’s endowment has doubled, and the NDSU Foundation raised a phenomenal $586.7 million for scholarships, facilities, faculty and programs. That’s an incredible $186.7 million above the goal.

Not to be overlooked are the incredible nine national championships by the football team. Yes, it’s not as important as academics, but NDSU football is a big part of the fabric of the university and the entire state.

David Cook and outgoing President Dean Bresciani celebrated the NDSU Foundation's endowment growth to more than $450 million.

Now, as a lame duck president, Bresciani is going out with a bang, not bitterness. It’s extraordinary that after being fired, Bresciani announced he’s donating his entire estate to the university. Equally extraordinary is Bresciani’s support for his successor, David Cook.


Despite the pain of being fired, Bresciani has traveled across the state with Cook, offered him advice, appeared in public with him, and publicly praised him.

For the record, I don’t know Bresciani and have never spoken to him. However, I know class, loyalty and dignity when I see it.

It’s important for health officials to keep the public informed of key dynamics of the spread of this dangerous virus, which has killed more than 2,200 North Dakotans. The pandemic isn't over.

It’s outrageous that the North Dakota Health Department has stopped reporting dozens of metrics related to COVID-19 in the state. Those items range from deaths to the positivity rate to cases in nursing homes.

What’s the point of keeping North Dakotans in the dark? The more information we know, the better decisions we can make.

It’s troubling to see that Cass County United Republicans have been holding candidate forums for city commission and school board races in Fargo and West Fargo. These are nonpartisan elections and positions. They should stay that way.

School board races becoming more and more partisan, following a national trend

It’s great to see that neutral organizations such as the League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley, the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Community Partnership and KFGO News have held candidate forums and debates. The political parties should stay out of it.

I’m going to pass on Tucker Carlson’s offer to go tanning with him.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.


This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

"What happened in Texas and Louisiana will happen to women in North Dakota after the state’s abortion ban goes into effect later this month," writes columnist Jim Shaw. "The fact that abortion is still legal in neighboring Minnesota will be of little help."

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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